Unvaccinated people in Austria who haven’t had COVID-19 will be barred from entering restaurants, hotels, and hair salons, as well as attending public events larger than 25 people, according to new rules that go into effect Monday.
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg outlined the rules Friday night, following a meeting with state-level leaders to discuss the country’s response to the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases.
“It is simply our responsibility to protect the people in our country,” Schallenberg told reporters, noting the case numbers and increasingly full hospital intensive care units.
Previously, people could enter restaurants, hotels, and other public places if they had been vaccinated, had recovered from the virus, or had a negative test result.
The government is planning a four-week transition period to encourage unvaccinated people to get shots. During that time, anyone who has received one vaccine dose and has a valid PCR test result will be permitted to attend events and enter the listed types of locations.
Only people who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to enter after four weeks.
Similar restrictions were announced earlier this week in Vienna, Austria’s capital city.
Austria reported a pandemic high of 9,923 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, breaking the previous year’s record of 9,586. In the last seven days, the infection rate increased from 317.4 to 522.4 cases per 100,000 people.
If the situation worsens, additional restrictions on unvaccinated people may be imposed. Last month, Schallenberg stated that if ICUs reach one-third of their total capacity, the government will impose lockdown restrictions on residents who are still unvaccinated.
Currently, 66.7 percent of Austria’s population has received one dose of vaccine, and 64.5 percent is fully vaccinated, representing one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. The Austrian government announced this week that if six months have passed since their last dose, all adults are eligible for booster shots.
Schallenberg urged unvaccinated Austrians to get the vaccine once more, calling it a “moral responsibility.”